The black dragon, Zackariah, falters in his reign of terror when he falls in love with the most recent Enukara, all of whom he's previously murdered.
Zackariah created an Enukara back when they were being made every day, and murdered hours later. Despite the odds, he managed to keep his alive long enough to understand how compassionate humans can be. Decades later, he meets his Enukara's son, Jonas, and finds that he is now an Enukara. Zackariah must decide if he will tell him the truth behind his mother's death, even if it risks the relationship forming between them.
Jonas knows Zackariah murdered his mother. He can accept this, but not the swirling lies around the reason why he did it. If he makes the same error it will lead to not only his death, but the death of all the Enukaras, present and future.
CHAPTER ONE - CREATION
Zackariah spread his wings farther and opened the webbing between the bony parts that ended in spikes. He drifted effortlessly on the wind currents next to his mate, Selina. She was a pale green, with a white underside. His opposite since every scale on his body was dark. He was one of the darkest dragons he knew, aside from his kin. Selina dove, and he followed, folding his wings, and shifting human as he reached the trees since they were too thick for them to walk between in dragon form. He rolled onto the ground and came to a stop next to Selina.
She sighed as she gazed up at the sky. The wind blew her pale green hair around her face, encasing it like a mane. He watched the leaves continue to sway from the impact of their arrival. He reached one arm up and put it behind her neck, so she could rest upon it.
"How much longer do you think?" Selina asked.
"Two more seasons," Zackariah said. He rolled onto his side and draped his other arm around her. "My brother will be old enough to leave the hive then."
"And we can start our own hive, out west?" She turned her head to look at him with her nearly all-white eyes.
"Yes, our own hive."
"Our own rules."
"Yes, out west, in California."
"Where dreams come true."
Here dragons were forced to be raised in a community. No parents. He and Selina wanted to raise their hatchlings on their own. Something he'd heard was allowed in California. They both wanted to go now, but Zackariah refused to leave his brother, Riordan, behind. The dragons were ruthless, especially to runts, like Riordan.
Selina rolled onto her side and wrapped a leg around him. He thought for a moment she might be willing to give him a preview of breeding day, which was three weeks away, but instead, she pressed a hand to her stomach.
"I'm hungry. Can you find me something to eat? The more food..."
"The more eggs," Zackariah finished. "I know."
She'd been asking for increasingly food as breeding day approached, just like she had the prior two breeding seasons. When they had their own hive, and their own territory, finding food wouldn't be so difficult.
"Stay here. I'll be back." He stood, and she sat up, wrapping her arms around her legs, and hugging them close. He left her in the clearing and moved through the brush to the human village below.
The humans had mostly become nomads. As if they thought they could migrate to an area where the dragons would not be. It worked, sort of, since the dragons did need to stay localized to lay their eggs in a hive. Dozens of transportable huts lined the clearing. Clothes hung on wires outside. He never understood why the humans dressed in such things. All the dragons wore the hides of the animals they killed so that when they morphed, the clothes morphed with them. He and Selina wore deer hides. He stopped his approach as he noticed a few hounds loitering in the area. The beasts would quickly alert the humans to his presence. And dog meat tasted horrible. Zackariah had no interest in them. He skirted the village, looking for any livestock they might have.
He rounded a larger hut and skidded to a stop. Two dragons pushed a human female back and forth between them. She wasn't wearing any of her clothes and both dragons had their privates exposed.
"Come on human, do us a favor," one of the dragons said, Tindenn, if Zackariah recalled correctly. He was a few years older than Zackariah.
"And suck one of us off," the other, Burden, said.
"Best way to become an Enukara," Tindenn said. They both laughed. Tindenn nodded as his eyes met Zackariah's.
"What's up?" Tindenn asked as the woman was tossed back to him. He rubbed his cock all over the woman's face, before shoving her back to Burden.
"Does that ever work?" Zackariah asked.
"Worked for Carpindel just last week," Tindenn said. "He said it was the best blowjob of his life."
"I'm surprised he lived long enough to tell anyone."
They both chuckled. "Yeah, well, that's how the story goes."
"Worth trying out," Burden said. He turned the woman around and lifted one of her legs. He shoved his cock inside her and pumped a few times before tossing her to the ground. "Even if she doesn't do it as a favor, it's still fun."
"Yeah, looks thrilling." Zackariah gave the woman plenty of space as he walked past her. Her blond hair was streaked with mud and her body was bruised. She looked up at him with eyes that begged him to end her misery. "Do these humans have anything worth taking?"
"Aside from their women? Nope." Burden kicked at her until she got back to her feet. Tindenn grabbed her from behind, and although Zackariah couldn't see, he assumed he'd penetrated her based on her jerking motions.
"You want a turn?" Tindenn asked.
"No," Zackariah said. "I'm still with Selina."
"Dragons aren't made for monogamy," Tindenn said.
"Not all, but I am," Zackariah said. He'd finished passing them and resumed his patrol of the village. Their assessment had been correct. The village offered nothing to eat. He made his way back up the slope to where he'd left Selina.
The brush to his left crunched and Zackariah turned in time to see a goat trotting past him. A goat! It was no sheep, but it was the next best thing. He hurried in its direction and realized the goat was heading in Selina's direction. The goat quickened to a trot and Zackariah hurried to keep up.
"Selina!" If he could get her to help him corner it, they might have a chance. A whistle came from his left and the goat turned to head toward it. Selina came into his view and he pointed. She darted ahead of him and then the ground sprang up beneath her and she was pulled into the sky. He jerked to a stop, falling onto his back.
He watched Selina swing in the air, trapped in a net that glistened in the sun. She screamed and kicked at the netting.
It was made from that awful metal the humans used that the dragons were sensitive to. The metal wasn't overly abundant, but pockets of humans had taken to using it for defense. It was part of why he and Selina wanted to go to California. The humans out there weren't so rebellious and hadn't figured out any dragon weaknesses.
"Hold on," Zackariah said. He climbed up one of the trees that supported her trap and clawed at the binding. Only the net was metal, not the rope holding it. She and the net fell to the ground and Selina cried out. He leaped from the branches and tried to take the netting off. His fingers burned as they touched the slender straps of metal. He jerked back.
"Get it off, please, baby, get it off."
"I can't." He looked for the opening on the mesh. If he could find it, maybe he could use a stick to pull it off her.
"It hurts." She curled into a small ball and moaned.
"I'll figure it out. I'll be right back."
Turned out Zackariah did have a use for that village. If Tindenn and Burden were right, there should be plenty of humans down there that could pull the netting off Selina. He went to where he'd seen Tindenn and Burden. Maybe they'd lend him their human plaything.
The two dragons were gone, but the woman remained. She was lying on the ground with a torn sheet covering part of her body.
"Hey," Zackariah said. "Are you alive?"
She didn't move or speak. Her face was buried in her arms, hidden from view. He picked up a nearby stick and poked her midsection with it. She grabbed the stick, the action so sudden he let go. She swatted at the air with it.
"Leave me alone! Go on!"
He stepped back but didn't go any farther than the length of the stick. "I need your help."
"Go back to the hell that spawned you all."
"We didn't come from hell. We came from space."
She held the sheet against her body as she rose. She kept the stick aimed at him.
"I'm not helping you. I won't be an Enukara."
"I won't touch you. I just need your help. A net has my mate trapped. I need a human to free her."
"You could have helped me before, but you didn't. Why should I help you?"
He noticed the blood running down her thighs. "They hurt you?"
"You thought I wanted what they were doing?"
"I didn't consider it." He thought of Selina, trapped, and burning under the netting. "If you don't help me, I will do worse. I will kill you."
"I welcome death. Please, kill me." She dropped the stick and held both her arms to her sides.
"Please, just help me. I don't want to hurt you."
She shook her head. "Go back to your space hell." She pulled the sheet back up and turned her back to him. Selina needed help and he didn't have time to look for another human. He grabbed the stick and swatted her across the back with it. He hit her again, this time on the head. He kept striking her until she fell to her knees.
"You will get up, and you will help me, or I will slowly beat you to death. Do you understand?"
She responded with only a whimper. So, he hit her five more times.
"S-stop, please, I'll help you. I'll h-help."
He hadn't heard her words in decades. The stutters of that woman as he beat her, but as the flare of an Enukara woke him from slumber, it was her pleas that he heard. It was a mistake. There hadn't been an Enukara in twenty years. There could not be one now.
He sat up in the darkness of his cavern. Darkness was where he felt most at home, the vast emptiness of it was more comforting than anything else. Still, that little spark of life kept pulsing, calling to him like the drug it was.
"Please," Zackariah said. He dropped his head to his hands and squeezed his temple as he pushed the memory from his mind. He'd known the dragons had attacked a sheep dome last night. He'd gone there and frightened them all away before any damage could be done. He was positive he had. He'd lingered in the area for hours just to be sure.
Panic rose in him, fear, a quick rush of adrenaline and then--pain. A few aches on his back, the palms of his hands, nearly as intense as when--no. He jumped to his feet. It was impossible. He was feeling. He was hurting. He was bound to a human.
He moved through his cavern, still in the darkness, he went to the hall and down the winding path until he reached the clearing Xander often lounged in. The dragon sat in his human form, poking idly at a fire in the center of the room. He was wrapped in a black trench coat, the collar pulled up as if he were protecting himself from the chill of the night.
His raccoon eyes, covered in layers of eyeliner, looked up at him.
"I was wrong, they made an Enukara. Summon the dragons. Call them all to the hive. I need to find out who is involved."
"But you looked last night. How could you have missed it?"
Maybe because it'd been twenty years since he'd hunted an Enukara? Had he grown rusty? He wasn't about to admit it. At least it meant if he hadn't sensed the Enukara, no one else would have. Not unless it was standing right in front of them.
"And make the humans do an accountability drill, in case the Enukara is still living with them."
"I'm on it." He got up and did that little skip thing like he was walking on air. He was the only dragon Zackariah knew who never walked, he more glided.